nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA’s nuclear lobby wants to extend life of reactors to 80 years: others not so sure.

nukes-sad-Flag-USAPower Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades  NYT, By  OCT. 19, 2014 The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.

Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment.

At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs substantially older than that.“I don’t know how we would explain to the public that these designs, 90-year-old designs, 100-year-old designs, are still safe to operate,” he said. “Don’t we need more convincing arguments than just ‘We’re managing aging effects’?”

“I mean, will you buy a car that was designed in ’64?” he asked……. Continue reading

October 21, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…

“I don’t like to break the law and don’t encourage others to do so, either. But this industry has to be stopped.” 

Ace Hoffman  October 19, 2014
Judge Sullivan resorts to incomplete logic in order to bar world-renowned expert from testifying in “flowers” case…

Four grandmothers attempted to plant flowers to bring attention to the dangers at Pilgrim nuclear power plant.   But Judge Sullivan refused to allow world-renowned pediatrician and nuclear expert Helen Caldicott to testify in their defense, because she (the judge) sees a huge difference —  when pushed to see it by the District Attorney — between “potential theoretical harm” and actual imminent harm.

The defendants — four women 60 to 80 years old — are using the “necessity” defense.  Is there an immediate danger?  Is the illegal act (trespassing) effective in addressing and abating the danger?  The judge refused to learn how quickly a nuclear power plant can explode. She refused to hear that the plans for evacuation require immediate action for millions of people around the plant.  She refused to consider that the warning that it’s time to evacuate must be sent out by people who, if they fail to do their duty, will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and end up in Judge Sullivan’s court (if she survives the holocaust) to be sentenced for negligent homicide.

How imminent can you get?

And sticks and stones may break my bones but planting flowers never hurt anybody.

The judge would like to turn the issue of nuclear safety away.  Not her concern.  Not in her courtroom.  That’s for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to decide.  They say it’s safe.  And for the judge, that’s the end of the “imminent threat” defense. Continue reading

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

4 decades and 4 $billion later, Watts Bar nuclear power plant might be finished by end of 2015

nuclear-costs1Flag-USAIn Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making, NYT,  By OCT. 19, 2014………..The agency started Watts Bar as part of a campaign to build 17 reactors, but dropped the project in 1988 after spending about $1.7 billion, when it was supposedly 80 percent complete. In 2007, with electricity demand growing again, the T.V.A. board voted to restart work because, consultants said, it could be finished for $2 billion. But by the end of next year, when commercial operation is now expected, the T.V.A. will have spent more than $4 billion…………..Not everyone is convinced that finishing the job is a good idea.

The underlying difficulty, according to S. David Freeman, whom President Jimmy Carter appointed to chair the T.V.A. in 1977, and who tried to shut many of the nuclear projects, is that the agency’s executives are “nuke-aholics.”

“They’re addicted to nuclear power,” said Mr. Freeman, the author of a bookthat argues that renewable energy can meet nearly all electricity needs. He said that when he joined the T.V.A. board, “they were telling me Watts Bar was 90 percent finished, but a few years later it was 84 percent finished.”

Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is another skeptic. “There are elements of T.V.A. that are drawn to nuclear like a moth to the flame,” he said. “And the reality is T.V.A. has been burned very, very badly by nuclear power over the years.”

The contractors lowballed the price to build it in 1970 and again in 2006, Mr. Smith said. “To make it like new, they’re pulling out equipment that has never operated, and replacing it with new equipment,” he said. For people who pay electric bills, he added, “this has been a disaster.”…..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/us/in-tennessee-time-comes-for-a-nuclear-plant-four-decades-in-the-making.html?_r=0

October 21, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

At least 4 years to scrap nuclear reactor barge

NUCLEAR-REACTOR SHIP HEADED TO GALVESTON TO BE SCRAPPED Kristi Nix, The Pasadena CitizenMonday, October 20, 2014 GALVESTON, TX –

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently announced plans to tow a World War II-era Liberty ship converted to a barge-mounted nuclear reactor to Galveston from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to be scrapped. The barge is expected to arrive at the Malin International Shipyard in mid-December……..The entire process is expected to less than four years, but the details of the scrapping operation once the USS Sturgis arrives in Galveston have not been finalized, officials said. http://abc13.com/news/nuclear-reactor-ship-headed-to-galveston-to-be-scrapped/358319/

October 21, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Partial report by NRC creates false impression that Yucca Mountain nuclear waste plan could go ahead

Yucca-MtOfficials from the state of Nevada, which has fought against Yucca Mountain, challenged the report. Robert Halstead, director of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, said the NRC staff did not fully consider all the probabilities that could affect safety.

“It’s a pretty meek endorsement,” Halstead said. A review of the license application by state scientists and lawyers came up with 229 technical challenges, or contentions, that Nevada is prepared to pursue if the Yucca program moves forward.

The release of only a partial report “creates a false impression that the safety review has been completed,”

NRC staff: Yucca Mountain could meet safety needs http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nrc-staff-yucca-mountain-could-meet-safety-needs by STEVE TETREAULT STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON  17 Oct 14 — A long-awaited report issued Thursday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found the Yucca Mountain site — once considered by the government but halted by the Obama administration — could be safe to store nuclear waste.

The federal agency released a staff analysis of a plan that the Department of Energy submitted for a license in 2008 but later disavowed. The 781-page document concluded that the site 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas “with reasonable expectation” could satisfy licensing rules.

The report immediately was seized by supportive lawmakers on Capitol Hill and executives in the nuclear industry as evidence the Yucca Mountain program largely dismantled by the Obama administration should be reassembled.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the NRC study shows the Nevada site is “a safe, worthwhile investment” that should be allowed to move forward.

If Republicans capture Senate control in the midterm elections next month, Murkowski would likely become chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Other Republicans have said that fresh votes on Yucca would be among the priorities in a GOP-controlled Congress.

Officials from the state of Nevada, which has fought against Yucca Mountain, challenged the report. Robert Halstead, director of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, said the NRC staff did not fully consider all the probabilities that could affect safety.

“It’s a pretty meek endorsement,” Halstead said. A review of the license application by state scientists and lawyers came up with 229 technical challenges, or contentions, that Nevada is prepared to pursue if the Yucca program moves forward.

The NRC staff report analyzed the most far-reaching aspect of the repository plan: Whether the natural geology of Yucca Mountain coupled with a system of man-made barriers that would be built within the mountain could keep decaying radioactive particles from leaking into groundwater over periods of up to a million years.

After dissecting relevant parts of the license application, NRC analysts concluded it was reasonable to expect it “satisfies the requirements” for long-term nuclear waste storage.

Other aspects of the plan are still being studied by the NRC staff, and are expected to be discussed in other evaluation reports scheduled to be released before the end of the year. The report issued Thursday was Volume 3 of what is envisioned to be a five-volume study. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear radiation near to USA West Coast

map-radioactive-ocean-12Fukushima radiation nearing West Coast http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2014/10/17/fukushima-radiation-nearing-west-coast/17437081/ Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal October 17, 2014 Radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster is approaching the West Coast, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is reporting.

sample taken Aug. 2 about 1,200 kilometers west of Vancouver, B.C. tested positive for Cesium 134, the Fukushima “fingerprint” of Fukushima.

It also showed higher-than-background levels of Cesium 137, another Fukushima isotope that already is present in the world’s oceans from nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s.

The sample is the first of about 40 offshore test results that will be made public next month, said Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole.

Further results, which Buesseler will release at a conference Nov. 13, will show offshore Fukushima radiation down the coast into California, he said, including some samples that are closer to shore. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear apologist James Conca, and “Nuclear Matters” don’t make sense about the industry’s future

text-Nuclear-MattersWhy Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter, Greenworld, by Michael Mariotte, 14 Oct 14

“……..As one PR pro put it, “I can’t remember the last time I read an op-ed piece argued so ineptly that it thoroughly demolished its own premise.”

This pro went on to point out the actual underlying themes of Conca’s piece:

1. Nobody cares about preserving nuclear power. You only hear from people opposing it.
2. Nobody is speaking out about preserving nuclear power. The only ones on the Hill who speak out oppose it.
3. There is no base of voters you can win over by being in favor of nuclear power.

Ironically, for most politicians politics is about power–not the kind that comes out of a wall socket, but the real stuff: who has it and how to get more of it. This piece is intended to make the case for nuclear power needing to have more political power, but, in doing so, exposes it as utterly powerless.

Back on April 1, I wrote about the founding of Nuclear Matters, “Creation of such a group is itself a sign of the industry’s desperation–who knew a technology that is so self-evidently advantageous (at least in the minds of the industry itself, if for no one else) would need a new organization not to promote industry growth but to try to postpone its inevitable stumble into oblivion?”

That desperation has now devolved into a new level of pathos, where an organization with a very fat wallet, backed by a utility worth billions and supported by an industry collectively worth hundreds of billions, now describes itself as powerless and grasping for someone to hold out a branch of support.

Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter. And it’s not for lack of effort on Exelon’s part, nor that of the organization’s many other industry supporters. It’s because their fundamental argument is that ratepayers should pay far more for their electricity than they need to simply because some nuclear utilities bet the wrong way on the future–and refuse even now to prepare for the inevitable shutdown of reactors–and because nuclear has a myriad of advantages that only nuclear utilities seem able to perceive.

The issue isn’t that these aging, uneconomic reactors are needed to keep the lights on and the beer cold. They’re not. In fact, the problem for nuclear is that the alternatives are both cheaper and cleaner. Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter because its fundamental argument simply makes no sense. http://safeenergy.org/2014/10/14/why-nuclear-matters-doesnt-matter/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission – “continued storage rule” takes over from “Waste Confidence Rule”

The action of the commission, although not addressing all potential impacts, is effectively saying, “so what?” “There are no significant environmental impacts from indefinite storage of used fuel.”.

Flag-USA Finding a permanent nuclear storage center, Aiken Standard  By CLINT WOLFE Guest columnist Oct 13 2014 “……..In a meeting that took only a few minutes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission passed a ruling regarding continued used nuclear fuel storage……..

 The essence of the issue is that the lack of a geological repository specifically identified for used nuclear fuel has caused the government to consider other alternatives. These include, but are not limited to, on-site storage of the fuel and consolidated interim storage.

A series of court challenges over time has seen the commission stick to its so-called waste confidence rule.

This rule has at least two aspects that are pertinent to this discussion.

One is that “if you don’t have a place to put the used fuel, then you can’t make any more.”

Waste-Confidence-Rule
Anti-nuclear activists have pushed this viewpoint that no more nuclear power plants should be licensed until there is a permanent repository.

The commission has responded in the past that they are confident that a repository would be available before it is needed and merely kept changing the date on which that would occur. This approach led to a challenge that the commission was violating the National Environmental Protection Act by proposing a significant new federal project without having determined the environmental impact. This environmental impact could be looked at in every case to significantly slow each new license application.

The commission’s recent action closes out the waste confidence rule and introduces the continued storage rule. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Heavy task to dismantle San Onofre’s dead nuclear power plant

san-onofre-deadfCountdown to dismantling San Onofre  UT San Diego By Morgan Lee .OCT. 13, 2014 Heavy work on dismantling the San Onofre nuclear plant may be just three months away.

Today, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to set in motion the 90-day countdown for major decommissioning activities by confirming receipt of detailed plans for the project, known as a “post-shutdown decommissioning activities report,” from San Onofre operator Southern California Edison. The notice will be published in the Federal Register.

Edison wants to restore most of the Navy-owned site in northern San Diego County during the next 20 years, a relatively quick schedule. The federal government allows up to 60 years for decommissioning, so that high-level radiation can dissipate.

The commission will conduct a public meeting to discuss Edison’s decommissioning plan, cost estimates and related environmental impacts on Oct. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Omni La Costa in Carlsbad. Beyond the meeting, written comments on the dismantling issue are due to the agency by Dec. 22.

Edison said the job will cost about $4.4 billion. The company announced in June that enough money has been set aside in trust accounts over recent decades to pay for the project.

The utility company is seeking authority to tap decommissioning funds to pay for most San Onofre-related expenses since the facility’s retirement was announced in June 2013.

It also is asking for permission from state utility regulators to cease annual collections of $23 million from its customers that are meant for the trust accounts — and to refund at least $17 million of that money……..http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/13/countdown-san-onofre-decomissioning/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear industry – condition terminal?

terminal-nuclear-industry

 

If it’s not Sustainable, its condition is Terminal.http://geoharvey.wordpress.com/October 14, 2014

¶   The most recent reported status of US nuclear power plants can be found at the US Nuclear Power Report. It is a distressingly dull digest of information from the NRC, posted most weekdays and Saturdays, most recently on October 14. Latest information is that out of 100 US reactors, 15 were at reduced output and 17 were not operating.

¶   By NRC reckoning, Vermont Yankee (VY) is currently running at 93% of its allowed capacity, as power is being ramped down to shutdown in December. At that figure, plant is nevertheless operating at above original design capacity.

¶   Video: Energy Week with George Harvey and Tom Finnell – October 9

October 15, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation samples falsified to make Hunters Point look clean

liar-nuclear1Contractor Submitted False Radiation Data at Hunters Point, NBC Bay Area  In an internal report uncovered by the Investigative Unit, Tetra Tech says it provided the Navy false soil samples while working on the radiological cleanup of the Hunters Point shipyard By Vicky NguyenLiz Wagner and Felipe Escamilla Monday, Oct 13, 2014 

A Navy contractor tasked with cleaning radioactive soil at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco admitted in an internal report obtained exclusively by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that it mishandled soil samples and submitted false data.

Tetra Tech, a multinational engineering, construction and environmental corporation details in an April 2014 report how it was caught submitting false soil samples to the Navy in an apparent effort to declare the soil free of radiological contamination when it may not have been. The Pasadena-based company is a $2.7 billion per year business that has won more than $300 million worth of contracts for cleanup work at Hunters Point………

“If the Navy had not caught this,” Bowers said, “there would be very, very high levels of contaminated soil, radioactive soil in the ground, where the plans are in place to build homes for the general public to live in, with yards for children to play in.”

Bowers is one of four radiation specialists who blew the whistle on Tetra Tech’s practices and are now suing the company for retaliation, claiming they were fired after questioning the company’s actions. Bowers first spoke with the Investigative Unit earlier this year saying the cleanup of Hunters Point had been compromised and that Tetra Tech cut corners on safety to save money……..http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Contractor-Submitted-False-Radiation-Data-at-Hunters-Point-279025911.html

October 15, 2014 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby astroturf group “Nuclear Matters” doesn’t matter

text-Nuclear-MattersWhy Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter, Greenworld, by Michael Mariotte, 14 Oct 14 Regular readers of GreenWorld know that we have dropped a lot of digital ink writing about Nuclear Matters, the astroturf group launched by Exelon early this year to try to make the case to save the utility’s aging and uneconomic nuclear fleet.

Exelon and the PR firm Sloane and Company that runs the public end of Nuclear Matters have assembled a seemingly potent team of paid-for spokespeople to make the utility’s case: former Senators like Evan Bayh and Judd Gregg; former DOE secretary James Abraham; and the big catch, former EPA Administrator, Obama climate czar, and current League of Conservation Voters board chair Carol Browner.

These and others  in Nuclear Matters’ assembled-team of backers have been writing (or, more likely, allowing their names to be used as having written) op-eds in publications across the country, appearing at Nuclear Matters-organized (ie Sloane and Company) events such as one in New York City the week of the People’s Climate March, and otherwise spreading the news that nuclear power is so important that it shouldn’t matter how costly to ratepayers or how old and unsafe a reactor is, it should keep operating for, apparently, perpetuity.

Maybe it’s just that the message isn’t exactly compelling. Or perhaps former politicians don’t carry the kind of clout Exelon needs. After all, making the case that millions of people should pay higher electricity rates than they otherwise would need to because, well, nuclear!, can’t be an easy sell to current politicians who have to answer to voters.

But the cat is out of the bag. In a remarkable column in which he tries to argue that Nuclear Matters should matter, Forbes’ incessant nuclear industry apologist James Conca inadvertently makes the case that it doesn’t matter. Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

America’s EPA plans for renewable energy are too modest

text-EPA-Nuclear-ProtectionEPA Clean Power Plan Underestimates Power of Renewable Energy to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Union of Concerned Scientists,October 14, 2014     Steve Clemmer, director of energy research, Clean Energy UCS released a new analysis today showing that strengthening the contribution from renewable energy can significantly increase the emissions reductions from the EPA’s 2014 Clean Power Plan. We found that increasing non-hydro renewable energy sources from about 6 percent of U.S. electricity sales today to 23 percent by 2030—or nearly twice as much renewable energy as the EPA proposed—could raise the reductions in U.S. power plant carbon emissions from the EPA’s estimated 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to 40 percent. We also found that increasing renewables to these levels is affordable, resulting in little impact on electricity prices and lowering natural gas prices for both utilities and consumers.

The EPA’s renewable energy targets are modest

This post is part of a series on th eEPA Clean Power Plan.

To establish emission rate reduction targets for each state, the EPA proposed four “building blocks” to identify cost-effective ways to reduce emissions from existing power plants. In addition to increasing renewable energy, these building blocks included improving efficiency at existing coal plants, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, increasing energy efficiency in homes and business, and including the generation from new and “at-risk” nuclear power plants. Importantly, the EPA gives the states flexibility in deciding how much of each building block to include, with some limitations.

Unfortunately, the EPA’s proposed approach for renewables — based on averaging the 2020 targets of existing state renewable electricity standards (RES) within each of six regions nationwide — resulted in very modest targets. Our analysis shows that the EPA’s targets include less renewable energy than what the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects will occur by 2020 under a business as usual scenario (i.e. without the carbon rule), and only slightly more by 2030 (Figure 1).

The EPA’s proposed approach also produced several counter-intuitive results at the state level. For example,seven states had less renewable generation in 2030 under EPA’s targets than they have today. And 17 of the 29 states with RESs have lower targets under the EPA’s approach than what is required to meet their existing laws. The EPA’s approach also does not capture any of the recent or projected growth in renewables between 2012 and 2017…….http://blog.ucsusa.org/epa-clean-power-plan-underestimates-power-of-renewable-energy-to-reduce-carbon-emissions-682

October 15, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

CIA chief and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opens debate on nuclear strike plans

Panetta Sparks Debate Over U.S. Nuclear Strike on North Korea NewsWeek, By  and  14 Oct 14, The specter of nuclear mushroom clouds rising over northeast Asia has long been a staple of nightmare scenarios in the event of another war between North and South Korea. It’s a prospect so apocalyptic that American officials have rarely articulated exactly what would trigger their use of weapons that could instantly kill millions and make the entire peninsula uninhabitable for decades.

In a memoir published last week, however, former CIA chief and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reopened the prickly issue, recalling a chilling, 2010 briefing in Seoul by General Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, who told him just such a nightmare could come true should communist forces pour across the DMZ as they did in 1950.

“If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all U.S. and South Korea forces and defend South Korea— including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary,” Panetta writes in “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.”………

Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the non-partisan International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, D.C., said American officials have “likely” discussed the first use of nuclear weapons privately with South Korea and Japan through the years. But he was surprised to see Panetta’s remarks, telling Newsweek, “it is rare to have this recounted publicly by such a recently serving former senior official.”

Washington’s policy on using nuclear weapons to deter a North Korean invasion could be likened to Israel’s position of “studied ambiguity” on its atomic stockpiles – or just official confusion, judging from the reaction to Panetta’s remarks. Although the U.S. first deployed tactical nukes to the peninsula in 1958, American officials shied from affirming their presence until the mid-1970s, when U.S. forces were routed in Vietnam and Seoul threatened to develop its own deterrent should U.S. troops depart. Even though President George H.W. Bush began withdrawing nuclear weapons from South Korean soil and U.S. ships off the peninsula in 1991 – a process continued in 2010 when President Barack Obama retired them from submarines as well – U.S.-South Korean communiques over the years have cited “extended [nuclear] deterrence” from afar as policy.

But arms control specialist Jeffrey Lewis dismissed the prospect of the U.S. ever resorting to nuclear weapons to obliterate North Korea. “We [are] simply telling the South Koreans what they want to hear,” said Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, of Panetta’s tale. “But the reality is that the United States wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against North Korea any more than it did against Iraq.”

South Korea knows this, Lewis maintains. ”The problem with placing a misleading emphasis on nuclear weapons [that] we never plan to use is the rhetoric comes back to haunt us when South Korean politicians argue that Seoul should build a bomb,” he told Newsweek.

Constantly framing the issue in terms of a potential North Korean invasion is also misleading, says Roehrig, director of the Naval War College’s Asia-Pacific Studies Group…….. http://www.newsweek.com/panetta-sparks-debate-over-us-nuclear-strike-north-korea-277432

October 15, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s new Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) not a basis for new nuclear power development

expect to see the issue end up back in federal court, where judges will have to determine whether the NRC’s unwillingness to adopt an actual waste “confidence” policy, instead relying on an assertion that current waste practice is good enough, meets the requirements of the Atomic Energy Act.


Waste Confidence 1Still no confidence in NRC radwaste policy http://safeenergy.org/2014/09/29/still-no-confidence-in-nrc-radwaste-policy/On June 8, 2012, a federal court threw out the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “waste confidence” policy, setting into motion a chain of events that still hasn’t stopped rattling the commission and the entire nuclear power industry.

The court ruled that with the shutdown of the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, radioactive waste repository and no new repository on the horizon, the NRC had no basis to say that it had confidence that radioactive waste would always be managed safely.

Since the Atomic Energy Act requires that the NRC have such confidence in order to issue reactor licenses (and license renewals), the NRC was forced to institute a moratorium on issuance of all reactor licenses.

At the time, the NRC staff said a thorough job on a new policy to replace the “waste confidence” policy would take seven years of work. But the NRC Commissioners decided to rush the job and this summer issued a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) that it said functions as a substitute for the policy.

There are a couple (well, at least a couple) problems with this approach. Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

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